Archived Automation & Process Control Articles & White Papers

Archived Articles

White papers and technical articles regarding specific topics, technologies, and platforms relating to industrial automation, process control, and instrumentation written by various industry professionals. provides these links for reference and is not responsible for the use or application of products mentioned. You may browse these technical articles by topic of interest.

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Below are general automation-related articles or select a category above for more articles:

Understanding Solid-state relays, August 2009
By TJ Landrum, Product Manager, Eaton
Solid-state relays (SSR) are able to perform many of the same tasks as electromechanical relays. Essentially, an SSR is an electronic device that relies on the electrical, magnetic, and optical properties of semiconductors and electrical components to achieve its isolation and relay switching function. Click here to read full article...

Don't judge a supplier by its name

By Frank Hurtte, Contributing Author.
For those of us who live and breathe the rarified vapors of technology based automation, it's pretty hard to fathom how life existed without electronic automation. Yet, it has been a short 30 years since the venerable PLC became anything more than a novelty outside of the Big 3 in Detroit. Sometime in the late 1970s, microprocessors changed our lives forever. Since those early days, the power of these tiny chips forever changed the way we think about manufacturing. Read Full Article

Control Technology for Future Generations

By: Ron Bernstein, Executive Director, LonMark International
The concept of a control networking architecture, which provides fair competitive bidding on all levels of a system and over the life of the system, is something the user market has been demanding for years. LON and other network protocols, such as BacNet, ModBus, and Zigbee, have been developed to deliver on this need Read Full Article...

Meeting the Changing Needs of Manufacturers Through Advanced System Integration

By John Nichols, Apex Manufacturing Solutions
A systems integrator not only adds value through traditional automation systems, but also by integrating control systems, quality systems, supply chain networks, enterprise documentation systems, asset management systems, business systems, and intra/internets to provide a holistic view of all aspects of a manufacturing company’s business. Read entire white paper

Automation lifts the burdens on U.S. manufacturing

By John Engler
Manufacturers in the United States shoulder many burdens as they compete in the tough global marketplace, working to overcome wrong-headed government policies that add unnecessary costs to production. Yet, all these challenges notwithstanding, the U.S. manufacturing sector remains the strongest in the world, setting new records for productivity year after year. Read Full Article...

Six Decisions You Must Get Right Before Upgrading Your Automation System

By Control Systems International
Automation upgrades often fail because buyers fail to make a few critical decisions early in the upgrade process. This report identifies the critical decisions you must make early and correctly in order for your upgrade project to be cost effective, achieve your goals, and reduce the risk of incorrect startup and operation. Read Full Article...

Functional Requirements Specification 'The Misunderstood Document'

After years of collective experience and many, many control projects, we believe the success of a project lies in the definition of the requirements for the control system. This definition is usually contained within several documents. The typical project starts with the Piping and Instrument Drawings (P&ID’s), the Input/Output (I/O) List and the Process Description. These documents are usually consolidated into the Functional Requirements Specification (FRS), which is then sent to system vendors and integrators for bid. At this point these four documents become the contractual scope of the project and the base line from which change orders will flow. Read entire article from G.F.S. Computing, Inc. (pdf)

Can't Justify Full Automation? Semi-Automate!! With Paced Assembly and Robotic Work Cells!

The rule of thumb for manufacturers today is that annual sales volume must exceed 1 million before a given product can be cost justified for full automation. More Info...

What is the True Downtime Cost (TDC)?

The key to realizing greater savings from more informed management decisions is to predetermine the "True" cost of downtime for each profit center category. TDC is a methodology of analyzing all cost factors associated with downtime, and using this information for cost justification and day to day management decisions. Most likely, this data is already being collected in your facility, and need only be consolidated and organized according to the TDC guidelines. More Info...